Two reds, an offside and bad language: Chelsea in ref attack


CHELSEA last night launched a complaint against the referee Mark Clattenburg after alleging that he had used “inappropriate language” on an explosive evening in which he had already sent off two of the league leaders’ players and ruled that Javier Hernandez’s offside winning goal for Manchester United should stand.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo had already condemned the referee’s “obviously” bad performance before the west London club filed their complaint, though there was some uncharacteristic sympathy from United counterpart Sir Alex Ferguson over the difficult decisions he believed the official had to face.

“We have lodged a complaint to the Premier League match delegate with regards to inappropriate language used by the referee and directed at two of our players in two separate incidents,” said a Chelsea spokesman, who did not provide any specific details. “The match delegate will pass the complaint to the Football Association. We will make no further comment at this time.”

The defeat was the first of Chelsea’s Premier League season but the second in a week in which their hopes in the Champions League also came under threat. On Tuesday Chelsea lamely lost 2-1 away to Shakhtar Donetsk of Ukraine and in initially recovering from two goals down to United they had impressed. It was at that point that the equalising goals of Juan Mata and Ramires after David Luiz’s own goal and Robin van Persie’s strike appeared to give the home side the match’s momentum but for Di Matteo the poor decision to dismiss Fernando Torres – after Branislav Ivanovic had already been sent off – and then to rule for Hernandez’s deciding goal were the ones that ruined the day.

“It’s quite obvious that the second yellow for Fernando Torres wasn’t one, it was a foul for us, he should have booked [Jonny] Evans and the decisive goal was offside,” Di Matteo said. “It’s a shame the game’s decided in that manner by the officials.

“Whatever [Ferguson] says, it was a foul in our favour and Fernando was through and was kicked on the shin and went down. It’s a booking for the other player, not ours.

“We’re massively disappointed that these key decisions were wrong it always seems to be in favour of the opposition and it’s a massive disadvantage for us. At 2-2 we looked like the team that were probably going to win the game so it’s a shame. It was a good game of football with two good teams and the officials ruined it.

“Key decisions have to be right and you don’t want the referees to be a big influence. Let the teams play a good game of football against each other. That’s what everyone wants.”

“Well, did he intend to dive?” Ferguson had asked of Torres’s dismissal. “Jonny may have just caught him a little bit but you can either carry on running, which he could’ve done. But he chose to go down. He could’ve carried on and scored. That’s what I can’t understand.”

A fourth-minute Van Persie shot bounced off of Luiz’s back and rolled in after hitting the post before the Dutchman powerfully struck again just 12 minutes later.

Mata’s masterful curling free-kick on the brink of half-time provided the home side with genuine hope before he was again involved in a move that finished with Ramires’s convincing 53rd-minute header. Ivanovic’s and Torres’s dismissals respectively followed in the 63rd and 69th minutes for a foul on Ashley Young and then a second yellow for what was judged to be a dive before Hernandez poached the deciding goal from an offside position 15 minutes from time.